While my family is napping during our midday break, I’m going to attempt my first trip report.
Background: Traveling to DW for the 1st time in 20 years and as an adult. Traveling with DH, DS8, DS5, and my parents, I’m not sure the correct abbreviation so I’ll call them DGP and DGM (Disney grandpa & grandma). We’re from Chicago, not keen on hot weather, crowds & except for me, getting up early.
However, I’m a super planner and booked this trip 490 days ago, so I’ve had plenty of time to prep everyone! Day 1: Travel/Disney Springs
We left Chicago via United, easy flight, easy to find Magic Express and ride to Polynesian. I booked a marina/pool view (actually wanted a standard view but they were all booked at 490 days!) I requested 1st floor, in Samoa building, facing quiet pool, we were given 3rd floor facing Lava Pool but in Samoa building. We were OK with it, just hoping the Lava Pool isn’t too loud during afternoon nap times. It’s honestly not too bad & my family is currently snoozing away with all the pool noise so we’re fine.
We can almost see part of the Electric Water Parade from our balcony which is neat.
We checked in yesterday, and collected our double stroller from Kingdom Strollers (thankfully we were grandfathered in as we booked it prior to the Oct 1st cut off, so bell services had it.)
I also ordered Amazon Now Pantry when we were in line for the Magic Express, and it was delivered a couple hours later. I had put a note to meet me in the lobby, as I was worried about the $6/package charge I keep hearing about from Disney, and was worried when I got a message saying it was delivered without the driver texting to meet me in the lobby. However, bell services gave me my 4 packages with no $6 charge.
The biggest hiccup was my 8 year old was so excited getting off Magic Express at our hotel, he left his backpack in the bus, complete with his Kindle Fire and V-Tech camera inside. My husband was sitting next to him & therefore responsible for him in my eyes, and how he didn’t notice a bag being left behind when I was busy with the 5 year old… sigh. However, he talked to guest services, told them the bus #, described the bag, etc, and was told they would call if they found it. I expected it would be at least 24 hrs before we heard anything. My son was crushed, but things happen. Fast forward to 9pm, get an unexpected knock at the door which was a package delivery and inside is the backpack with all items still inside. No phonecall that it was found, but getting it the same day was so lucky!
Back to the afternoon: We were starving after our flight, so grabbed a quick bite at Captain Cook’s. The food was surprisingly good, I got the Asian Noodles w/ tofu and my husband got the Turkey Club. I really liked his and would get that next time. Then we grabbed a Te Fiti cone and Dole Whip cup (both were as good as expected) and got ready to go to Disney Springs.
Man are those buses crowded. We headed over about 4:45 and it was standing room only. Disney Springs was fun but so big and confusing. We had dinner reservations at T Rex. Since I’ve been to Rainforest Cafe back home I knew what we were in for…but we’re here for the kids, right? Actually it was better than expected, I would give it a solid B and was expecting a C- food experience. The drinks were actually good (I got a mojito) and it tasted just like a mojito should. The four adults weren’t too hungry after our late lunch, so we shared the 4-person appetizer. It came with chips & queso (average), boneless buffalo wings (surprisingly good white meat chicken with more of a honey-chipotle glaze than buffalo sauce), meatballs (very garlicky but OK), garlic bread, chicken quesadillas (again better than expected) and some other items. I was expecting to not like much but I actually ate more than I thought. It’s still a one and done though for us.
We hit up a couple stores and then took another super crowded bus home. In bed by almost 10 which is way later than I thought, since we were up at 5am and were getting up the next day at 6am. Ok, that’s the boring stuff. On to:
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
We met our parents who are also staying at the Poly at the monorail at 7am. I was surprised it was still dark out, sunrise wasn’t until 7:29. I kept thinking, am I crazy to be getting here this early? I didn’t actually see what time we entered the park, though.
First stop was meeting Mickey at the Town Square, we walked right in to see Mickey with no wait. But he didn’t talk, I thought he would. Then we grabbed a photographer to take our picture on a not crowded Main St in front of the castle. My husband kept complaining and wanted to get to some rides already. I promised it would be fine, just let me have my moments! Then we got to 7DMT which showed a 25 minute wait. I swear we were in & out in under 20 minutes. I was nervous about my kids, since this was their first rides at Disney and both can be a little timid about fast rides. But they wanted to ride it, so we went for it. DS8 hated it and cried the whole time. DS5 absolutely loved it. I promised DS8 that that was the fastest ride he’d be going on the whole trip, and he did it and it’s over and now everything else would be easy.
It was still before 8am at this point, and we were ahead of schedule so we walked onto Winnie the Pooh even though it wasn’t on my TP for today. Then we walked onto It’s a Small World, and tried to use our 1st FP for Peter Pan at 8:25 although our FP was 8:35. We found out that you can only use it 5 minutes early, and honestly the standby line was 15 minutes so instead of waiting around watching the clock for 5 minutes, we got in the standby line. This was fine as we got to see all the cute extra interactive touches in the line that we would have missed. Nothing I’d wait in a long line to see over using a FP, but it was fine for a 15 minute wait. After we got off the ride, we tapped into the actual FP just to burn it and get it off our magic bands, but we didn’t ride it a 2nd time.
I forgot to mention we actually had FP’s for 7DMT at 2pm, which was the earliest I was able to make them when I booked them and was hoping we could modify earlier. Despite trying to modify 6-7 times a day for the 60 days prior, I was never able to change them. Since my plan to do 7DMT earlier worked out, I modified that FP to a 10:00 Pirates.
After Peter Pan we headed to Haunted Mansion. DS8 loves spooky stuff, DS 5 does not. We tried to convince DS5 to skip it, but he insisted he wanted to ride it except he just wanted to skip the stretching room. DS8 wanted to do the stretching room. We had watched lots of videos of the ride, to prep them, as well as singing the Grim Grinning Ghosts song at home to make it familiar and fun.
Well, DS5 took one step over the threshold from the outside area to the inside area and freaked out and we had to catch him running outside. DS8 also got freaked out and all 6 of us regrouped outside to see who is actually riding and who is staying behind. Both kids said they wanted to try again, so we get back into line. And… DS5 bolts screaming again the minute he steps inside. DH takes him out and the rest of us ask the attendant how to skip the stretching room, as DS8 still is going to try the ride. (I was baffled he was scared, as he looves scary stuff so this was unexpected from him.) The attendant gave us a card and sent us down a hallway, where someone came to collect us and the card and put us in the doom buggy line. My mom & I stuffed DS8 between us in a buggy so he felt secure, and I hugged him the whole time. He ended up loving the ride, as I expected he would. We met back up with DH, the grandparents stayed with DS5, and DS8 and myself rode again with DH. FYI it said 25 minute wait but we walked right on (albeit skipping the stretching room a 2nd time). But we would have walked right in with the group heading into the stretching room, so it was not a 25 minute wait.
We headed to our FP Pirates after that, and then to Be Our Guest for our 11:10 lunch. We had preordered, and I had heard how long it takes to check in, get a table, and get your food. Our experience today was: walked right up to check in at 10:55, found a table right away in the West Wing directly in front of the rose (cool!), and received our food immediately after we got our drinks and silverware. We were done eating by 11:20!
DS5 was starting to get cranky, but we still had FP’s for Space Mountain at 12:05 we wanted to use. We headed over to Tomorrowland, and found some shady tables next to it and waited with the kids on their Kindle Fires until we could tap in at 12:00. We knew the kids weren’t going to ride it, but I had still booked all of us FP’s since it was easier. DGP stayed with the kids, while me, DH, and DGM rode. I was super nervous, I don’t like coasters but I remember riding this from my childhood and loving it. So I kept thinking my kid self would be telling my adult self to do it, it’ll be great, but my adult self was quaking in her shoes! By this time standby was 55 minutes so I was so glad we had FP’s. We rode it, and OMG was it fun! So fun that DH said, let’s do it again. And I’m like, not with a 55 minute wait! And then I’m like, we can put on the kids magic bands and use their FP’s and take my dad who missed it, as he still had it on his band. So DGM waited with kids while we rerode it with my dad. Both DH & I felt like the 2nd time the ride was half the time of the 1st ride, but we still loved it.
Kids were cranking by this point, and it was HOT and way more crowded, so we caught a relaxing boat back to the Poly. We took quick showers and everyone is taking a midday nap, including DH. I’m not a napper, so I had time to write this long, boring trip report. LOL
A word about modifying FP’s, this did not work for us. I kept trying, but all the rides like Haunted Mansion said no FP’s available at all the rest of the day even though it was around 10am. I could not bump anything earlier either. Honestly, all the rides were walk-ons except for Space Mountain so it didn’t matter. We were ahead of my TP all day. On the boat back to the hotel, I tried adding my 4th FP’s for tonight at Epcot and could only get Living with the Land. I was hoping for Soarin.
BUT while typing this trip report, I remembered about the drops! So at 3:30 I went in, refreshed, refreshed, and boom, was able to change Living to Soarin at 6:25 when they did the 3:30 drop. YES! My Liner tricks are working! So soon we’ll head to Epcot for the evening, with the plan to get some food at the Food & Wine Festival, ride Soarin and Living, and then leisurely tour the countries at night.
Stay tuned for the next lengthy & boring trip report during tomorrow’s midday break.
While my family is napping during our midday break, I’m going to attempt my first trip report.
You have mentioned that you scanned the Peter Pan FPP to burn it. Would it be better to cancel it and pick up another FPP right away instead of waiting to use the 3rd?
I absolutely enjoyed your long, boring trip report! I’m totally going to be stalking your posts - we’re due to arrive on Tuesday evening.
Great report - not boring at all. Just a tip though…don’t always trust Disney’s wait times; check out the TP wait times; most times TP shows a much shorter wait; Sometimes TP will actually show a longer wait, but rarely.
Thanks for the report, have a great day and looking forward to reading more!
I love long trip reports!!! You guys had a great first day and a half! Can’t wait to read the rest!
Thanks, I did try. I spent the whole 15 minute Peter Pan line trying to modify to something else with no luck. The only things available that we hadn’t ridden & wanted to do that day was for the afternoon, nothing in the morning except the rides we already rode. So I burned them in case there was a problem with them not dropping off and preventing us from modifying another FP.
Trip Report- Day 2 pm and Day 3 am
Thanks for reading and all the positive comments!
Family is midday napping so here’s the next update.
One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that as many people say, the food at Be Our Guest was not good. We didn’t expect it to be, but fair warning. The Croque Monsieur had way too much bechemel sauce which made it seem drowning in cheese. So much so that we didn’t want to get anything cheesy at the Food & Wine Fest later. Also the Turkey Noodle Soup that came with the kids meals was so salty, no one could eat it. Also didn’t care for the Lemon Raspberry Puff desert. My son ate all the Grey Stuff off the cupcake and left the cupcake.
Last night we headed to Epcot after everyone woke from their nap. We probably got there about 5:30, and proceeded to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival. We hit up Flavors From Fire for the Crispy Corned Beef and the Blended Burger. OMG the burger slider was phenomenal and after tasting mine family went back and got two more. Corned beef was really good too.
Then we used that same day drop Soarin FP I was able to get and we all loved the ride. DGM said it was her favorite so far and wanted to ride it again sometime during the rest of the trip.
Then we hit the countries and walked them, lingering for a while in France to get the Passion Fruit frozen mimosa at the festival cart. We also hit the bakery for chocolate croissants for the kids and a framboise for me. That last thing was a combo of raspberry gelee (I think) with mouse and everyone loved it, my mom went back to get to her own and DS8 fought me to finish mine.
Then we briskly toured the other countries, stopping in Japan to do their store and see all the neat things. My son decided to do the Pick a Pearl, and it was such an awesome experience. The Japanese girl does a whole mini ceremony, cracking jokes, teaching us Japanese words, etc during the experience. I highly recommend, my son loved it. You don’t have to purchase the extra jewelry setting the show you, he just kept the pearl in the little baggie the gave him (he thinks he has a secret treasure now).
We ended up staying out way later than I expected, and left during the beginning of the fireworks. We weren’t there to see them, and hoofed it out of there to beat the crowds watching.
In bed by 10:15, and amazingly, we got up early cause we were so excited to start the next day. We planned to get up at 8, and make it to Epcot around 9 but not be part of the rope drop scene.
Instead, we got up at 7:45, decided instead of cereal in our room we wanted breakfast at Captain Cooks, and hurried to get dressed and out the door. We actually weren’t impressed with the Tonga Toast, I can see why people like it but DS 8 & I didn’t like the cooked banana in the center and only ate the outside cinnaminy toast.
Met up with DGP and DGM at 8 and walked to the TTC. This is only a 5 minute walk from our building and way better than the 30 minute monorail ride to the TTC where you have to change monorails anyway to get to Epcot (which we did the night before). Got to Epcot around 8:20, and were at the front of the pack of the rope drop crowd. We headed straight to Frozen and pretty much walked on. Then we headed to our 9:40 test track FP, and then hit Mission Space. Before we did Mission Space I saw that Spaceship Earth was down & was hoping it’d be back up for our FP. We did get to do our 10:40 FP for Spaceship Earth, and got stuck on it while it was ascending into the ride, and then again in the middle of it. Not too long, just short stops. I can see why they are refurbishing it soon if it’s keeps breaking down.
Everyone was hungry by now, so we headed to the Land to get a quick bit at Sunshine Seasons. I wanted to do Living with the Land after we ate, but it was a 40 min wait! My parents didn’t like the food they got, and really wanted to go back to the Food & Wine Festival for something better so we split up and continued on with our kids to Turtle Talk with Crush, which was adorable and so funny. Whoever is voicing Crush is brilliant how he stays in character and can think of funny things to say depending on the audience questions.
Then it was time for our Seas with Nemo FP at noon. After we tapped in, I did a 4th FP for Living with the Land right after. Then after that we’d hit Figment, and be done! However, after we finished quickly viewing the aquariums, we realized it was 12:45 and I wanted to be strict about leaving at 1 and getting the kids a good nap before the MNSSHP tonight. So we left the park, and modified Living with the Land to Spaceship Earth at 8:30 hoping it breaks down again and we get an anytime FP for tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
Last night I also had a late night FP booked hoping to convert to an anytime FP, I think I did Tower of Terror cause that was the only ride I could find in any park that late. I have the list of rides likely to break down according to TP, but none of them had FP’s available when I checked.
Anyway, we’ll have to do Living, Figment and 3 Caballeros later in our trip or who cares if we end up missing them completely. Not a big deal. The nap and well rested kids for the party tonight are way more important!
So everything showered, fed, and in bed by 2. Fingers crossed for tonight, as the plan is to last until afte the 11:15 parade. Kids were up til 10 last night & still bouncing off the walls when we shut off the lights, but with our luck when they need to be up late, they will crash. LOL At least we have a double stroller so they can pass out while we see the parade if need be.
Thanks for writing! Great report!
It’s been a busy couple of days, and finally have time to continue the report.
Day 3 evening:
MNSSHP night! The kids napped and as we were getting ready, a quick T-storm rolled through. We waited it out and left our room as soon as it stopped raining right after 6pm and were in the park around 6:20. The grandparents didn’t come with us and decided they would meet us at the party later. DS8 dressed as Hades from Descendents, and DS5 was supposed to be the Phantom of the Opera but we could not find his mask in our luggage anywhere. We must have left it at home, but DS5 was easily persuaded to just be Dracula since we still had his cape.
I figured out memory maker thanks to you all so now I can attach pics
We got some party magic shots done in the hub area, and headed over to the Haunted Mansion to see the characters on the lawn when they came out. However, we learned the characters are actually located throughout the line, and since we didn’t want to ride HM, we left and rode It’s a Small World Again and by then the party had officially started.
The kids wanted to ride the Teacups with the party overlay, DH decided to skip since he doesn’t so well with spinning rides. We waited in line, and I get a call from my mom saying they are there but getting kicked out since they don’t have a ticket or something, and she puts a CM on the phone. Turns out they didn’t know about the party entrance and didn’t get their special wrist bands so they were getting kicked out. After I explained to the CM they did have tickets, she said she would take them to where they could get their wristbands and everything was fine. Phew! Keep in mind I’m in line for a ride, it’s super loud with the music pumping and people all around & could hardly hear the phone call & my Mom’s freaking out on the phone… Then it’s time for us to ride the ride. We sit down, they lock the door, and instantly DS5 starts screaming that he wants to get off. Um, we are past the point of no return! The entire ride he screamed he wanted to get off, and started throwing a tantrum, all because he was afraid the teapot was going to toot and be loud. We finally get off the ride & he is in full meltdown mode, stomping the ground, crying, the whole works. The teapot didn’t even toot at the end either. At this point I’m thinking it’s only 7:15, and we’re going to have to call it a night and throw all that $ for the tix away. However, DGM & DGP found us and DS5 finally pulled it together and got happy.
Then we headed to the DescenDance Party cause of course Hades wants to check that out!
It was a blast, DS8 was dancing along, the CM’s hosting the party were awesome teaching the kids simple dance moves to the Descendants songs like Chillin Like a Villain. They gave the kids hula hoops to dance with at one point, also played other songs like the Macarena & Cha Cha Slide, etc. DH grabbed a salad at Cosmic Rays while DS8 let loose on the dance floor. DS5 was still not ready to participate after the recent tantrum, so he stayed with us & observed the party. We left that after about 15 minutes and headed to the Monsters Inc dance party. It looked cute when we peeked at it, but the kids were not interested (they are not huge Monsters Inc fans but I still thought they might want to do it). So I asked them if we should skip the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor Halloween thing, and they said to skip it.
We then jumped on the People Mover to take a tour around the party festivities in Tomorrowland. Cool tip we didn’t realize, you know how the People Mover goes through Space Mountain? And how Space Mountain has the party overlay where it’s pitch dark and they play different music? So you can check out the overlay without having to ride Space Mountain by doing the People Mover. FYI you are in pitch dark for a bit of time, so we had to reassure the kids and hug them tight but it was cool for the adults to see what was happening in Space Mountain during the party.
Then we did Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, which the kids loved so much we got right back in line (it was a walk on).
Then it was time for the fireworks dessert party. So if you’ve read my prior posts you know I have major anxiety about crowds. I pulled an audible less than a week before our trip and just decided to pony up for the dessert party, as the parade & the fireworks were my biggest priorities. I knew with the kids it would be hard to stay & save a spot for both of these as a lot of our party would be sitting around waiting with antsy kids, plus the thought of people smashing up against me and worming their way in front of my & me having to throw down with them if they do that… I look small but I’m a metalhead & have been in enough Metallica mosh pits back in my younger days that I can throw elbows with the best of them. LOL But this is not how I want my vacation to go, so I bought the dessert party tickets last minute. I’m really glad we didn, although ultimately the party wasn’t too crowded & I probably didn’t need to. (We went on a Monday for crowd avoidance & it really wasn’t as crowded as I had expected.) But it was really nice to have somewhere cool to sit down & relax and eat/drink. The food was better than expected too. We aren’t big sweets people, but we all enjoyed a marshmallow from the smores action station. They had mini-Constance cakes (the raspberry/white choc thingie), pumpkin mouse cheesecakes, decorate your own cupcake or cookie station, worms in dirt, cheese cubes, spinach dip, and the famous cheeseburger egg rolls. Those were a huge hit with us & everyone got seconds. Also the chilled green apple cidar & POG juice were great, and they had strawberry lemonade & boo berry lemonade. We were so stuffed we swore we wouldn’t eat for a week.
Then we headed to the reserved grassy area, and found a spot up against the front line. I know the tip is to grab a spot by the back wall, but those were all taken already and the front was empty in spots so we just headed to the front. The fireworks were A-MAZE-BALLS. The puppet Jack was incredible, and the projections on the castle blew us away. I highly recommend seeing these at least once.
Kids were still going strong after the fireworks (Yay the naps worked!) so we headed to Frontierland to get a spot for the 11:15 parade. We actually ended up finding a spot on the rope right next to the Hall of Presidents and decided to just park it there instead walking all the way down to Frontierland. DGM was happy there were empty rocking chairs by the Hall she could chill in, and we all sat down at the rope to wait. We enjoyed the parade when it finally came threw, but getting out of there was a mess. We followed the crowd, and cut through a bunch of stores on Main St but then ran into the parade and couldn’t exit. We waited to the right, right near where the parade disappears. People in the know to the left of us were allowed by cast members to briefly cross the parade path & leave every now & then, but with our double stroller and us being packed like sardines we couldn’t get over there. But next time we’ll try to be a little more to the left where the CM’s lift the rope and people scurry through until they drop the rope again when the next float is coming. The monorails to get home were surprisingly easy, I thought we’d have to wait for 5 or 6 to come through but we got on the first one that came by. Late night for us, we went to bed at 1:15 and the kids were still wide awake but I was yawning. All in all, the party was so much fun, we got to do everything I wanted, the crowds I was dreading were not there for us since we got to walk on a couple rides and watch the parade right at the rope. I’m so glad we did it.
Day 4: Sleep in, then AK in am, HS in pm.
We slept til 9 after that late night, and were still dead tired but we had a FP for the safari expiring at 10:35. We were out the door and waiting for the bus by 9:30. DGM didn’t come, her bad knee was really acting up after all the walking. Personally I knew she would flake for Ak as she didn’t even want to visit this park in the first place. DGP met us at the bus depot though, as he had never been and wanted to check it out.
We made it to the safari at 10:30 so we were fine. Man was it hot already, and crowded. We’re used to touring at 7am, and what a difference getting to a park at 10am makes. The safari was OK, the kids liked it more than the adults. We saw a lot of antelope type things, elephants, giraffes, saw the sleeping lions pretty well, etc. Back in Chicago we have 2 official zoos, plus a bunch of smaller places that have animals. Even our local pumpkin farm has giraffes you can hand feed carrots to so I guess seeing animals isn’t too special to us when the kids are going on field trips every other month to a place with animals it feels like.
We were so hot after the safari, so we headed inside to It’s Tough to Be a Bug. DS8 loves bugs & especially spiders so I thought he would really enjoy this & we would enjoy the a/c. We did like the show, I held my breathe during the stink bug part & closed my eyes for the spiders in advance. I will say, it definitely can be scary for the little kids. At one part, they turn off the lights as the bugs decide to attack the audience, and the scary part is that they are shooting quick puffs of air. It’s not really that bugs are scaring you, it’s the fact that you are in the dark being shot with air & you don’t know what else is going to poke you or if you’re going to get fake stung or what. Kids everywhere were screaming but that part was short and otherwise we did overall like this show.
Next up was Avatar! But first we got lunch at Satuuli. This was on my list of places to eat, and it was one of the best meals we’ve had at the parks. I got the chili-spiced crispy tofu and a salad which included quinoa, broccoli, carrots & a couple of delicious boba balls. The kids loved the homemade chips their quesadillas came with, & DH loved his grilled chicken over noodles. I highly recommend. We did catch part of the Pandora Rangers show out front which the kids liked, and I grabbed a Night Blossum drink at Pongu Pongu which also was on my must try list as I am all about boba balls & passion fruit. The drink was great and I highly recommend it.
Then we headed to use our 12:20 FP’s for Avatar. We decided the kids would be too scared on the ride, and frankly we DH & I wanted to enjoy it without worrying about the kids or having to reassure them the whole time. We did child swap with DGP watching them while Dh & I rode it first. They have the kids join the party all the way through the pre-show to the end. DH & I loved it, we loved the movie and the ride was just as amazing as we had heard. We really wanted DS8 to experience it, but thought DS5 would be too scared especially during the beginning when they strap you in, so DGP, me and DS8 rode it while DH watched DS5. I assured DS8 only the beginning made me scared when they strap you in, but when the ride starts it’s beautiful and even when you fly down my stomach didn’t drop. (My stomach drops going over train tracks or riding a swing, but surprisingly I was OK on Avatar.) He was brave but as soon as the actual ride started and you are flying, he freaked out. He turned his head and never looked at the screen again and kept saying “When will it stop, when is it over” and I felt bad for the people riding with us. He only peeked at the end when we went in the cave & all those light thingies were floating around. OK so that was a mistake but DGP liked the ride alot.
Our next FP was Dinosaur but it was down. Honestly that was a blessing in disguise because with these chickens, we were going to have to do a ride swap as I remember that ride from years ago & how intense it is. DS8 loves dinosaurs but he is just not enjoying these intense rides. So we got anytime FP’s and I sent Dh & DGP on Everest while I took the kids to Dinoland to play in the dino dig site. They loved it there, and once the rest of the family met back up, we called it a day. It was just too hot, I don’t know if because AK has all those trees it doesn’t get enough breezes, or because we were touring later in the day or what, but we were miserable and it was the same temp as the prior two days when we were OK (although we were back in our room napping during the afternoon.)
Also, ultimately we didn’t really like AK. None of us were interested in the trails, DH didn’t understand why they would make all the buildings like stores, restaurants, etc look like they are dirty and about to fall down.
We liked Avatar and the food in Pandora there but that was it if we ever went back again.
Late nap, and then we headed to HS to catch Fantasmic.
But first, since we still had 3 anytime FP’s to use, we booked Tower of Terror on my & the kids bands for DGM (who was feeling better after spending the day at the pool), DH and DGP to use. We just gave them our bands. (remember when I said my stomach drops on a swing? yeah, did ToT once in my life and never again). It was perfect that those 3 got to use those FP’s and do the ride before we went into Fantasmic. We got there kinda late and were seated in the upper right side of the arena (which actually was great when exiting!). We got there 25 minutes before the show started, and gave the kids their Kindle Fire’s to play on. When the show was about to start and I took DS5’s tab away, he got all salty about that and said he didn’t want to watch the show & only wanted to play his tab. I’m like No, we can’t play on our tab when the show starts. So he says he isn’t going to watch the show then and just laid his head down on my lap when it started and shut his eyes to prove his point. Whatever. The music and sounds finally drew his attention and he sat up & watched, and all of us ended up enjoying the show. This type of thing seems to be much more in line with what my kids are enjoying here rather than fast rides.
After the show, we headed to Galaxy’s Edge & Toy Story to see them all lit up at night. On the way, Star Tours was a walk on, so we coaxed DS8 to ride it with us (DS5 was game but DS8 said he didn’t think he liked simulation rides after Avatar). Grammie really begged him to ride, especially because he loooves Star Wars. With the whole family backing him up, we rode it and both kids loved the ride and wanted to go again. We said we had FP’s for it the next day, and would continue on to the other lands. We briefly walked through GE and then got to Toy Story land, where we got Totchos for dinner (at 9pm, when I realized I was starving as I hadn’t eaten since Satuuli). OMG the totchos were awesome.
At that point, we realized how late it was, we had a really early day the next morning plus we had to get out of there before the fireworks crowd. Headed home, lights out at 10:30 and 6am alarm
Day 5 am: HS
up at 6, on bus by 6:40, ten minutes later than my plan. It’s chillier than we expected, I think today was only a high of 82 and after sweating all week it was nice but that early in the morning before the sun came up, we were a little colder than we expected. Since we did ToT last night, didn’t have to go there and instead went straight to Toy Story Mania. We actually had a FP for this later in the day but it wasn’t going to work well with my TP so I wanted to cross it off the plan first thing. We walked on pretty much, I think it was a 10 min wait. Then we headed to sign up the kids for Jedi Training when it opened at 7:45. Got them both into the first group at 9:40.
Then we headed straight to Smugglar’s Run which was a 33 min wait. That felt like an even shorter wait with all the stuff to look at in line. Honestly we enjoyed it alot, I had heard it wasn’t that great and was almost debated as being comparable to Star Tours in one of the TP forum threads. I’ll say we liked it alot, but it felt way shorter than Star Tours. We were smart and had me & DH pilot since we both play a lot of video games, had the kids be gunners which they would enjoy, and make the grandparents the engineers cause they didn’t care. It worked good, except my husband was huffing about how my mom didn’t grab the 2nd cargo container and had stopped pressing her buttons. Whatever, we all had fun.
Then we took some pics & were starving so we headed to Woody’s Lunchbox for breakfast. The smores french toast was yummy, and I am learning that the kids meals are the right size for me and got that instead of the adult size. Plus it came with potato barrels (I like a side of salty with my sweet) and a drink for a cheaper price.
Then we headed BACK to GE to really browse and take it all in. The kids bought holocrons (1 got the blue, 1 got the red) and each picked out 2 kyber crystals each. They were so excited!
After GE (which only took us about 20 minutes to peruse) we had to dash back to the Jedi Training & got there right as they were handing out robes. My kids loved this part of the trip, both fought Darth Vader. I had heard you fought either Darth Vader or Kylo Ren, I didn’t realize they split the kids into two groups and each group fights one or the other. So it was cool my kids got to see both of them in person.
Then I modified our later Star Tours FP to right then, since we were right next to it and rode it via our modified FP. We actually liked this ride better as the movie was more exciting with the scenes than yesterdays.
Then we ran to squeeze in a BB8 meet & greet. I was hoping to also get Chewbacca but we had a 10:55 res for Sci Fi to dash to. Sci Fi was still pretty empty at that point, so we ordered and got our food quickly. I enjoyed the Buffalo Chicken Salad, my mom liked her Lettuce Cups although she said they were really spicy, everyone else liked their food too. It was phenomenal but pretty good considering we were there more for the experience. And the kids loved the experience.
Then we tried to run to the noon Indiana Jones show, got there 5 min before it started and it was standing room only. DS5 started to chicken out and didn’t want to see it. (He’s seen the movies & played the Lego Indiana Jones games, so I was surprised but I think he was getting tired.) We left, and headed back to the room to open the holocrans and play with those for a bit, then hit the pool quickly before nap.
Nap just ended so we’re on to MK for the FEA dessert party, and I got a couple of FP’s for Jungle Cruise & Under the Sea since we missed those the first day.
Man, I feel like all we did was dash today to squeeze everything in. The nap & pool time was really needed, and hoping tonight is a bit more leisurely.
Thanks for reading!
Day 5 pm: So I think this is when we start getting burned out, as we’ve done all the must-sees and now are starting to not care about the plans I made for the rest of the trip and are changing things around. This night we had plans to do the HEA dessert party. We planned this since MK is closed early every other night this week, this is our only chance to see HEA. I realized a couple days ago this is also everyone else’s chance too. TP also recognized this and updated the crowd calendar from a 9 to a 10, with the explanation that this year they are really seeing a spike in crowd levels on the one day of the week MK is open later, much more so than in the past couple of years. So they re-adjusted the prediction for 10/23 last week to a level 10. Mentally we were prepared and glad we had the reserved area for the dessert party, although since we had done the Halloween dessert party earlier in the week, no one was really excited to do another one. We liked the Halloween one, but felt like we didn’t necessarily want to do a 2nd dessert party though. Too late to cancel, so we headed to the monorail for MK around 5:45.
The monorail pulls up to Poly, and then an announcement was made that they were suspending monorail service, having everyone on board get off even if it was not their stop, and to take other transportation such as buses or the boat. No one in the crowd seemed to hear the announcement except for me, not even the other people in my party. I’m like “Let’s go guys!” while they were all confused and hustled us to the boat before the crowd of 50 people standing on the platform figured out what was going on. We made it to the boat 2nd in line, although we missed the boat that just departed. That was OK though, as when we turned around there quickly amassed a crowd of what looked like 200 unhappy people. We finally made it on a boat, and entered MK which, as expected, was a sh*t show on a CL 10 day.
I had gotten us a FP for Jungle Cruise from 6-7, and we made it in line about 6:45. But the FP line was allll the way backed up into the main walkway. However, the standby line said 80 minutes (TP said 60 min) and TP said the FP would be about 20 minutes. We really wanted to ride this as it was my parents last night with us on the trip, and my dad has specifically wanted to ride JC with the kids. He had found memories of it and we missed it on our first MK day with them when we veered off our TP a little and then the line got too long. So I really wanted him to get to do the JC with my kids, since that was the only request he had given me the whole trip. We also had no where to be until the dessert party, and the park was too crowded to really go anywhere else. We finally made it onto the ride, it took us 35 minutes with the FP. We then headed over to the dessert party as it was just about 7:30. The dessert party was also way more crowded than the halloween one, which I expected.
My husband at this point was like, screw this, I’d rather go back to the hotel and get a drink and away from these crowds, we’ve already seen fireworks and I can’t believe anything could top the halloween ones. Plus he was worried about the crowds leaving after the fireworks and trying to get back. I said, well, we paid for the party, let’s just stay for about half the fireworks to see some of them and then leave early.
We enjoyed our food, which was similar but a couple desserts and drinks were different from the other party. By the time we finished eating, it was 8:10 and no one wanted to wait 50 minutes for the fireworks.
I suggested going back to the hotel, getting drinks, and watching the fireworks from the beach at least. That sounded good to everyone, and is exactly what we did. Seriously trying to get down Main St and leave was almost impossible, it was like gridlock and sometimes people literally couldn’t go anywhere. In hindsight, I’m glad we left. Next time we do Disney we can try to see the fireworks on a non-CL 10 night. Also, I’m glad we got to experience this so it really made us appreciate all the low crowd levels we’ve had this trip otherwise, and made us not want to ever think we could try coming again during a busy time of year.
Day 6 am:
2nd MK day (if you don’t count the MNSSHP)
We had done most of the park our first MK day, and a couple more rides during the party, so our TP was pretty light. We decided to sleep in a little, and got into the park about 9:15. We headed straight to our 7DMT FP and did child swap. Even though DS5 liked it the 1st time he rode it, he didn’t want to go again. It was the end of our FP window so we could head straight to our next FP for Tomorrowland Speedway. There is almost the exact same ride at an amusement park by us, and we liked the one by us much better since the cars steer better and go through a little misting car wash. The Disney one DS5 & I got a slow car, and we were at the head of the pack holding up all the other cars.
On to the Dumbo ride after this, since it’s a classic and we could walk on.
After that we headed to Under the Sea, which had a 15 minutes wait. We were in line forever! It took over a half hour, we couldn’t figure out why the line was so slow. It was hot (real feel of 97), and the kids and DH started getting cranky. We were wondering if the ride broke down or something cause we were moving through the line so slowly. We finally get us to the rope, they open the rope, we turn the corner and… it’s the Ariel Meet & Greet. OMG my 3 men were so mad at me! We must not be the 1st people to mistake the line cause when we said we thought this was the ride, they ushered us past Ariel without having to meet her. I told everyone this is something we would laugh about later, but they were all too hot & cranky to be amused.
Next was Philharmagic, which I assured them they would be sitting in a theater with a/c and could relax, and that sounded good to them. The kids really enjoyed it, DS5 wanted to do it again but we decided to move on. I do recommend it though.
From there, everyone was in a better mood after relaxing out of the sun, and we did have a good laugh about the Ariel M&G mixup.
Headed to HM for a FP per DS8’s request, as this turned into his favorite ride tied with Star Tours. I’m glad, as if you remember from an earlier report he chickened out the 1st time which surprised me as he loves all things spooky. DS5 wanted to ride it too, but after he ran screaming out of it the 1st two attempts on Sunday we really didn’t want him to ride it today. I bribed him to skip it while DH & DS8 rode it with snacks. So he & I got the fruit waffle & churro ice cream sandwich at Sleepy Hallow, as that was on my food bucket list. Both hit the spot.
We headed to the Swiss Family Tree House, and then made our way to our lunch res at Tony’s. I wasn’t expecting much of the food, we were doing it for the parade viewing package, but it was better than expected. I got the gnocchi with vegetables, my husband got the steak, and both of us enjoyed our meal. I loved the parade even more than the Boo to You parade. The floats were so spectacular, especially Malificent, and the dancers costumes seemed showier than the Halloween parade.
However, we truly didn’t need reserved seating, there were open spaces on the curb still 10 minutes before the parade started.
It was sooo hot and we are losing steam on our vacation, since we’ve done all our priorities and are now just finishing up what we missed the first time around. We headed back, did some laundry, laid around the room, adjusted our final day’s plan tomorrow (I dropped our Ohana breakfast late last night that was scheduled for Fri morning), and still don’t know what we are doing tonight. I told my husband we can do whatever he wants, since I’ve been planning everything and he can take control if he wants. And he says, we can do whatever. Ok, good plan…
I think we’ll head to the pool and stay at the resort.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for sharing about HEA. I think we’ll have the same problem next year on our November trip with Christmas parties. I think there will only be 3 showings that week.
I loved reading all about your trip! It was really helpful for this soon to be first timer and our family. The greatest thing I took away from your trip is that things go wrong, plans change, kids have meltdowns, and THAT’S OK! you gotta roll with the punches right?! Thank you for taking the time to document everything!
Enjoying your trip report! Thanks for posting. Also we did the same thing with the Ariel meet and greet!
Day 6pm & Day 7 am:
Well, we ended up just getting dinner at Captain Cook’s and hitting the pool last night. We also ran into a nightly ceremonial lighting of the torch thing right outside the restaurant, with a drummer & firedancer doing a quick little thing before lighting one of the tiki torches. It’s little touches like this that really are magical to just stumble across.
After swimming for a few hours, we hung out in our room and watched TV (it was the first time we turned on our TV the whole trip), and we heard the music for the Electric Water Pageant outside. I grabbed the kids and we watched it from the walkway with them in their pajamas. It was cute for them, nothing I would plan around, but again a nice little magical touch to run into.
Today is Friday, and the original plan was to do a 9am breakfast at Ohana and finish up HS when we got there after that. I had made my 1st FP of the day at 12:05 for Slinky Dog, since I had heard it can take 2 hours to do Ohana. Late Wed night I decided we’d rather skip Ohana, as we’ve been eating so much this trip and I really would rather use the morning to finish some more attractions at HS.
We got to the park around 10am after sleeping in, and I had modified a FP for Star Tours from 1:20 to 10:00 so we could use that right away when we got to the park. This was our 3rd ride on Star Tours as it has become one of our favorite rides, but it was almost identical to our first ride (same planets, Princess Leia beaming in, etc)
Next we headed to the Muppet 3D show which was fun. Then we grabbed lunch at Woody’s Lunchbox again (more totchos!) where the skies opened up and it started to pour. We were luckily eating under a table with an umbrella, but some of us got pretty soaked before we could get our ponchos on & the stroller got really wet before we got it’s rain cover on. The rest of the day it proceeded to pour, clear for 20 minutes, pour for 20 minutes, etc. We headed over to Indiana Jones and saw it pouring while we were watching the show. The directors kept mentioning they had to change the show due to weather, and it ended 5 minutes earlier than it should. But the kids loved it and didn’t know what they might have missed.
DS8 now really wanted to get the detonator Sprites from GE as he was inspired to create his own pretend movies with stunts after watching the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, and thought the detonators would be great movie bomb props. So we got a couple of thoses as souvenirs.
My husband had walked by the Frozen show earlier in the day and wanted to see the show, and asked again so we headed there next. This is really funny cause my husband is not a big Disney person, but I learned today that this is his favorite Disney movie that the kids watch … and he likes the Anna/Elsa combo The boys didn’t want to see the show, it’s been a while since they were into Frozen, but we saw the show and it was sooo funny. The guy that was narrating seriously was fantastic, and it snows real snow in the theater at the end. The kids did end up liking it, how could you not?
The last thing we were going to do was see the Lightning McQueen show, but at this point it was pouring again and the boys were done sitting through shows and wanted to go back to the room.
It looks like it’s going to be raining more tonight, and we have 5:45 res for Rose & Crown. The hope is to see the countries during the day, as we’ve only seen them at night, and maybe hit up the Figment ride & the 3 Cabarellos. We’ll see if the weather cooperates.
Tomorrow is checkout day. We have a 12:50 flight home, and will order a Lyft to the airport at 10. My parents flew home yesterday (they only joined us for the first 5 days of the trip), and took Magical Express. My mom warned me not to do that, they picked them up 4 hours early and they sat around the airport forever and there wasn’t much to eat or do while you’re waiting so early.
So we cancelled ME and will just take a Lyft instead.
Reflecting back on our trip, we truly had an amazing time. We thought Disney was going to be a one time thing for us, and we went big with all the dessert parties, MNSSHP, staying for a week, etc. We figured maybe we’d go back again when the boys are closer to 10 & 13 and do Universal too at that time.
By Day 2 of this trip, we decided we wanted to come back in 2 years as it’s been so much fun. All the knowledge I learned on these forums has really made the difference. Picking low crowd days to choose our parks, going early, have a TP, forcing the kids to take afternoon naps, knowing which food is where & having a plan made it a fantastic time. I think everyone who hates going to Disney doesn’t do any of these and I would hate it too.
We loved Poly, and will return here as the location and access to 3 modes of transportation has helped tremendously. The 5 minute walk to the TTA from our room to access the Epcot monorail has us choosing Poly instead of Grand Floridian, which at first my husband said we should try next time. Also, I love coming back here after a busy day in the parks and hearing the piped in relaxing Hawaiian music and every CM saying Aloha when you pass by.
I think we’ll do 3 day park hoppers, as we can skip AK, we wouldn’t do any dessert parties or the MNSSHP again. The parties were all fun but for the price, we’re fine experiencing them just the once.
There’s a lot of rides we can skip, like Dumbo or the Tomorrowland Speedway, and those that we now know are favorites like Space Mountain & Star Tours. We can also skip T Rex, Be Our Guest and some others that we wanted to do for the experience, but next time we can try more restaurants known for their food.
This week right before Halloween ended up being great for crowds, but my kids missed so many Halloween activities at school that I felt bad. Maybe the week before (as long as we avoid Columbus day weekend) or maybe the 1st week of November would be good. Any advice on early Nov, I know we should avoid Jersey Week and what about the Wine & Dine Marathon?
Anyway, it’s been a great trip. Thanks again for reading and all the advice I’ve learned.
We must have just missed you! We arrived at the dessert party around 8:10. We enjoyed the desserts until 8:40 and then headed to find a spot at the plaza.
In any event, looks like you had a great trip!
November is generally a good month to go. Definitely avoid Thanksgiving week. I have been the week before Thanksgiving week and the week after Thanksgiving and both were good times to visit. I haven’t looked at the 2020 calendar yet, but the long weekend around Veterans Day can have elevated crowds in addition to Jersey Week so depending when those fall, it could effect the week before Thanksgiving week.
Thanks for sharing. I love reading trip reports.
That’s what we say every trip, “maybe we’ll wait a few more years to come back after this trip or maybe we’ll do Universal instead” and every single time (started taking the kids in 2003) we book a trip for 18-24 months from when we leave. Mainly for budget reasons, but also I appreciate the novelty and the magic more if its been a while since the last trip. Every 18-24 months is perfect for us for our big family trips. There is always new stuff and the kids are at different ages, with different interests every trip.
Day 7 pm:
We headed out to Epcot this evening, hoping to avoid the rain. Thankfully we stayed dry all night! We had dinner at Rose & Crown and it was amazing. I got the Welsh Pub Burger and my husband got the Veggie Hot Pot, and we shared each. You could not tell the Hot Pot (like Shephard’s Pie but with sliced crispy potatoes on top instead of mashed potatoes) was vegetarian at all. We both eat meat, but also enjoy meatless options. He got the Irish Whisky flight and I got the English beer flight. We would definitely go back. Then we went to the 3 Cabarellos Mexico ride and the Figment ride. The kids loved the Figment ride, it was one of their favorites. Then we headed back to pack.
The next morning we had to leave by 10, so we had a bigger breakfast at Captain Cooks, ordered a Lyft at 10, and made it to the airport by 10:50 (our driver was super slow & almost seemed like he didn’t know where he was going, as he would change 2 lanes to exit the highway last minute). Anyway, we arrived at the airport, had an easy 12:50 flight, and arrived home in Chicago to 40 degrees and pouring ice cold rain. What a welcome home.
That’s our trip, but I realized even though I did such long trip reports, I still forgot to include stuff. The only thing I’ll mention that I forgot was when we experienced pixie dust. DS8 had purchased a build-your-own-lightsaber in Disney Springs, but was disappointed they didn’t have the purple blade. He built a red one, and then in the gift shop after Star Tours they had build-your-own-lightsabers with purple blades. My husband talked to a CM and asked if we bring back the red blade, could we exchange it with a purple one? She went & talked to a manager, and the manager came back and just handed us the purple blade. It was so nice of them, we were happy to exchange it when we came back later in the week but they let us just have the purple one.
Another funny thing that happened was when we went to ride Slinky Dog, it was starting to rain. We were doing child swap, and I let my husband go first in case they closed the ride down, I was OK missing it but wanted him to experience it at least. I told him to wear a poncho on the ride but he didn’t want to. Well, it started pouring so hard he couldn’t even open his eyes on the ride. Here’s him in the front row.
Then we swapped the kids, and when I rode it it stopped raining. LOL
Anyway, that’s all folks!
Too bad we missed you davej! Thanks for the advice, maybe we’ll look at the week before Thanksgiving.